How do you understand detachment?

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honjaku
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How do you understand detachment?

Post by honjaku » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:57 pm

In anyone has any interest in this subject.

There are things we experience, and then there is training we can do for sure on how we experience things which alters how we experience things

It is a common saying here on jcf to be be both the player and the witness. The word detachment gets used a lot these days, the practice of it is popular in many circles.

So how do you understand and experience detachment?

Is it that -

- You no longer feel anything when things happen(stuff that might have before made you happy or sad)
- You feel happy or sad and also feel removed from the experience, perhaps by being a witness to the feeling? Then you have two simultaneous states of experience for any experience. What is this experience like for you?
- You feel completely happy or sad and have no other feeling/thought when you are happy/sad, you do not judge the happiness or sadness as good or bad, you have no preference. When the feeling of happiness/sadness is over it is over and you have no further thoughts about it.
- Some other way
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Post by nandu » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:42 am

Honjaku,

Try the <i>Mandukya Upanishad</i>. It is available on the net.

The fourth <i>Purusha - Thuriya</i> - is the level of ultimate detachment, according to me.

Nandu.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:47 pm

The most important form of detachment I feel is my soul's defense against the pain of being invaded in a violently sexual attack against my person. When I was raped, I experienced what psychologists call "disassociation" so that it felt like it was happening to someone else very far away, on another planet, in another dimension.

The physical pain was intense for a few hours, and the bruising and bleeding were all gone in days, but the emotional damage quickly became submerged. It would percolate upward like molten lava at later times, but eventually, it became cold, solid stone and was transformed into a platform for a lush garden, the Garden of God (which may be the meaning of the word "carmel", the root of my name.

I do not work at becoming detached. It simply occurs as my time here increases. It is now 63 years, 5 months and infinite minutes since I was expelled from the womb.

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Post by honjaku » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:43 pm

Thanks for sharing your difficult story Carmela Bear.
I do not work at becoming detached. It simply occurs as my time here increases.
If you don't mind sharing some more - how does it occur? What is the experience? Is it any of the modes I described or something else?

Detatchment can be valuable for very sensitive people. I am curious about how we experience it and when do we find it of value and when a hinderance. Do we always have a choice about whether to be detached or not?
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:09 pm

I have read books and articles over the years that gave me the distinct impression that a minority of people are born with brains that tend to absorb information at a higher rate, and are thus susceptible to becoming overstimulated. Such individuals naturally draw back and away from the flood of data confronting our experience of everything around us. We are born introverts.

We internalize information, rather than simply using it and letting it go. Thus, we are more sensitive. We pick up information, we experience feelings, and eventually discover that it has become so much a part of us that we need not give it much attention at all. This can be seen as a sort of detachment. Introverts like me do not need to be reminded of some things, because while our brains function, we respond almost automatically to certain data and stimulus.

We can be so withdrawn that we become isolated, but we also have the capacity for socialization and extroversion to bring us back to the land of relationships and carefully structured interaction (like this forum). We can go a long time without a compliment. We can let harsh language and mean attitudes bounce off the walls we build to defend ourselves against abuse. We know we can survive and thrive when we are denied income, goods and services on account of our natural shyness. We learn early to turn our attention to other matters of greater importance to us.

We tend to more self-contained and tolerant than the average person. In this way, it can be said that we can, by nature, be a bit too detached for our own good.

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Re: How do you understand detachment?

Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:14 pm

honjaku wrote:So how do you understand and experience detachment?

Is it that -

- You no longer feel anything when things happen(stuff that might have before made you happy or sad)

- You feel happy or sad and also feel removed from the experience, perhaps by being a witness to the feeling? Then you have two simultaneous states of experience for any experience. What is this experience like for you?

- You feel completely happy or sad and have no other feeling/thought when you are happy/sad, you do not judge the happiness or sadness as good or bad, you have no preference. When the feeling of happiness/sadness is over it is over and you have no further thoughts about it.

- Some other way
I will get back to this, okay?

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Post by honjaku » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:29 pm

Thanks, yes, I can understand and can relate to the overwhelmingness of things leading to developing the capacity of detachment. Perhaps some are overwhelmed more than others, and as you say overwhelmingness can happen on a number of levels.

It can happen on the feeling level or the thinking level. Active minds do tend to enjoy processing things and can reflexively want to process anything and everything that comes to them even when it is unnecessary.

There is a high that comes from feeling deeply whether happy or sad and some of us can get hooked on that rush but we are left empty afterwords and the things we get that rush for are often of no consequence so we are left disappointed too.

I can see that isolation can be a defensive reaction to that and it leaves us empty afterwords too. I can certainly relate. That is a very interesting question - at what point does detachment spill over into isolation?

Another interesting question - I had a very interesting discussion with some yoga practitioners in yoga class. Is it possible to be deeply absorbed in an experience, giving 'everything' and also be a witness?
Last edited by honjaku on Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by honjaku » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:30 pm

I will get back to this, okay?
Sure thing, write whenever you are in the mood for it.
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Post by zoe » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:18 am

Detachment means to have neither regrets for the past nor fears for the future; to let life take its course without attempting to interfere with its movement and change, neither trying to prolong the stay of things pleasant nor to hasten the departure of things unpleasant. To do this is to move in time with life, to be in perfect accord with its changing music, and this is called Enlightenment. In short, it is to be detached from both the past and future and to live in the eternal Now. For in truth neither past nor future have any existence apart from this Now; by themselves they are illusions. Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. - Alan Watts
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Post by Cindy B. » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:35 am

Yet again, note to self, Zoe...

:)
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by honjaku » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:20 am

Thanks for the quote Zoe. So that is Alan Watts' ideal experience or expression of it. A couple of questions arise - by what criterion is he finding this mode of experience to be ideal, better than others? And then, did he actually experience this?

It is interesting if we find a particular way of experiencing better then others, whether it be Alan Watts' idea or from the Upanishads, what is the criterion for determining it is better? I described three ways in which we could possibly experience/understand detachment which at some point or the other I have experienced. There are possibly more ways, Carmela Bear suggested one more at least. If we find one way as better than the others what criterion are we using to do so?
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Post by zoe » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:33 pm

Watts expresses the irony of detachment which is that it takes focus on the present moment. It is awareness not idleness......... don't we all aspire to that?
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Post by honjaku » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:17 pm

don't we all aspire to that?
Do we? Do I? Honestly I don't know. Should I? If I should why? What is the criterion for determining I should?

At least the second half of Alan Watts' quote is rather abstract. The first part - not having regrets/fears is interesting. Regrets can have value. Processing a regret can mean understanding mistakes we have made and rectifying them. Fears can have value too, for example if we are working on an assignment and we are worried that we won't finish in time, that moves us to make adjustments, we reprioritize for example.

Presumably someone practicing/experiencing this kind of detachment also no longer reminisces sweetly about the past not anticipates anything in the future? It sound a little like the first mode of experiencing that I described.

What other modes are there?
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Post by Dyre42 » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:41 pm

The thing about Watts' definition of detachment is that what he is speaking of makes what is happening now the most important thing you can experience.The past is gone the future is uncertain. Now is all your really know you have and now is where your emotional and intellectual investment should be in order to live life to its fullest.
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